From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : NA
Mains level : Modernization in Saudi Arabia , MBS's Policies
- Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman’s Vision 2030 seeks to reshape Saudi Arabia, moving away from oil dependence and embracing modernity.
- This transformation faces resistance from traditionalists but aligns with a changing global image of Saudi Arabia as a tourist-friendly, welcoming nation.
Al-Ula: A Modern Oasis
- Historical Significance: Al-Ula, an ancient city along the incense route, is pivotal in MBS’s vision to modernize Saudi Arabia.
- Breaking Stereotypes: Saudi Arabia aims to challenge traditional beliefs by welcoming tourists beyond pilgrimage destinations.
- Nationalism Beyond Religion: The country’s evolving nationalism is detached from religion, emphasizing individual liberties and empowerment.
Winds of Change
- Empowering Women: Saudi Arabia promotes gender equality, offering scholarships and opportunities for young women.
- National Transformation: Young Saudis actively participate in the modernization drive, recognizing its benefits.
- Welcoming the ‘Other’: Saudi Arabia’s newfound friendliness towards foreigners, including easing visa norms and hosting entertainment events.
Challenges on Path to Modernity
- Cultural Sensitivities: Transitioning from conservative traditions is challenging, but Saudis are adapting to change.
- Historical Significance: Al-Ula’s archaeological treasures pose challenges given their potential impact on religious perceptions.
- Top-Down Change: Past experiences highlight the complexities of enforcing societal changes from the top.
- Strategic Foreign Policy: Saudi Arabia’s balanced foreign policy has insulated it from regional conflicts.
- Cultural Riches: The country aims to showcase its archaeological wonders to the world.
- Green Initiatives: MBS’s ‘green’ approach and emphasis on renewables align with global trends.
Opportunities for India
- Improved Working Conditions: Indian migrant workers can expect better conditions and a renewed social contract.
- Educational and Cultural Exchanges: Indian educators and artists have opportunities to contribute to Saudi Arabia’s educational overhaul.
- Counter-Terrorism Cooperation: India can leverage Saudi Arabia’s counter-terrorism initiatives.
- Bilateral Investments: Collaboration in infrastructure and service sectors presents growth potential for both nations.
- Saudi Arabia’s journey towards modernity is marked by challenges and opportunities.
- As it reshapes its identity and engages with the world, India stands to benefit from this evolving partnership, contributing to mutual growth and cooperation.
- Saudi Arabia’s aspiration to excel in various fields aligns with India’s interests, paving the way for a fruitful relationship.